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David Robertson Conducts the Juilliard Orchestra in a Concert Celebrating Pierre Boulez's 90th Birthday with Works by Boulez, Debussy, and Stravinsky on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Avery Fisher Hall

Start Date

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Press Release Images

David Robertson (Photo by Michael Tammaro)
David Robertson (Photo by Michael Tammaro)
Pierre Boulez rehearsing at Juilliard for the 2008 FOCUS! festival (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)
Pierre Boulez rehearsing at Juilliard for the 2008 FOCUS! festival (Photo by Hiroyuki Ito)

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NEW YORK –– David Robertson, music director of the St. Louis Symphony and chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia, leads the Juilliard Orchestra on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 3 p.m. in Avery Fisher Hall in two works by Pierre Boulez for the occasion of the composer’s 90th birthday. The program features Boulez’s Rituel (In memoriam Bruno Maderna) and Originel from “…explosante-fixe…”; Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun; and Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. The works by Debussy and Stravinsky have been central in Boulez’s career as a conductor.

Pierre Boulez has been a guest artist at Juilliard since the 1970s. When Boulez was music director of the New York Philharmonic (1971-1977), he led a number of Informal Encounters concerts at Juilliard focusing on composers such as Berg, Schoenberg, and former Juilliard faculty member Elliott Carter. The long friendship between Boulez and Carter inspired Boulez’s most recent visit when he conducted a program at Juilliard celebrating the centennial of Carter’s birthday at a FOCUS! festival concert in 2008, with Carter in attendance.

David Robertson has enjoyed a close association with Pierre Boulez as colleague and mentor, serving as music director (1992-2000) of the Ensemble Intercontemporain (an ensemble founded by Boulez and of which he remains honorary president.)

Tickets for $30 (orchestra and 1st tier) and $15 (2nd and 3rd tiers) are available at events.juilliard.edu, through CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office. Tickets are free for Juilliard students. Non-Juilliard students with valid ID may purchase tickets for $15 orchestra and 1st tier) and $7.50 (2nd and 3rd tiers), only at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office.

About the Program

Boulez’s Rituel was composed in 1974-75 and revised in 1987. Scored for chamber orchestra in eight groups, the work was composed as a memorial piece in honor of Bruno Maderna, a close friend of Pierre Boulez, who also was a composer and a conductor. Rituel had its world premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London on February 4, 1975.

Boulez’s Originel from “…explosante-fixe…” was composed in 1993 and had its world premiere in New York by Ensemble Intercontemporain, conducted by Mr. Boulez. The version of the score that the Juilliard Orchestra will perform is scored for flute solo, with two joining flutes and large chamber ensemble without electronics. Both David Robertson and Pierre Boulez have conducted this version in concert. “…explosante-fixe…” has its origins in a shorter work dedicated to the memory of Igor Stravinsky and first performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center at Alice Tully Hall in 1973.

Stravinsky completed Symphonies of Wind Instruments on November 30, 1920, dedicating it to the memory of Claude Debussy. Stravinsky re-orchestrated the final Chorale in 1945, and revised the remainder of the work in 1947. Stravinsky once called Debussy “my father in music.” Debussy was 20 years Stravinsky’s senior and was one of the first of his colleagues to compliment him on The Firebird. The two men retained a friendship until Debussy’s death in 1918.

Debussy was inspired by Mallarmé’s poem L’après-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun) and composed his three-part orchestral work with movements: Prélude, Interlude, and Paraphrase finale. Debussy completed the Prélude in 1894 as a one-movement work. The premiere took place at the Société Nationale de Musique in December 1894 with conductor Gustave Doret.

About David Robertson

David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas. He enters his 10th season as music director of the 135-year-old St. Louis Symphony. In January 2014, Mr. Robertson assumed the post of chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

To celebrate his decade-long tenure with the St. Louis Symphony in 2014-15, David Robertson will showcase 50 of the orchestra’s musicians in solo or solo ensemble performances throughout the season. Other highlights include a concert performance of Verdi’s Aida featuring video enhancements by S. Katy Tucker (one of a series of such collaborations during the season), and a return to Carnegie Hall with a program featuring the music of Meredith Monk, the season’s holder of Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair.

In 2013-14, David Robertson led the St. Louis Symphony in a Carnegie Hall performance of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes on the Britten centennial that Anthony Tommasini, in The New York Times, selected as one of the most memorable concerts of the year, and in the spring Nonesuch Records released a disc of the orchestra’s performances of two works by John Adams: City Noir and Saxophone Concerto. Also, in 2013-14, Mr. Robertson launched his first year at the helm of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and he conducted the U.S. premiere of Juilliard alumnus Nico Muhly’s Two Boys in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera. He also appeared with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestre National de France, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Cincinnati Symphony.

David Robertson has made numerous recordings for Sony Classical, Naïve, EMI/Virgin Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Atlantic/Erato, Nuema, Adès, Valois, and Naxos, in addition to his recent recordings with the St. Louis Symphony for Nonesuch.

With more than 50 operas in his repertoire, Mr. Robertson has appeared on the world’s most prestigious opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Opéra de Lyon, Bayerische Staatsoper, Théâtre du Châtelet, Hamburg State Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Opera.

David Robertson has received numerous awards including Columbia University’s 2006 Ditson Conductor’s Award. In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2011 he was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Born in Santa Monica, California, Mr. Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting.

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Program Listing:

Sunday, April 19, 2015, 3:00 p.m., Avery Fisher Hall

Juilliard Orchestra

David Robertson, conductor

 

DEBUSSY Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

STRAVINSKY Symphonies of Wind Instruments

BOULEZ Originel from “…explosante-fixe…”

BOULEZ Rituel (In memoriam Bruno Maderna)

 

Tickets for $30 (orchestra and 1st tier) and $15 (2nd and 3rd tiers) are available at events.juilliard.edu, through CenterCharge (212) 721-6500, or at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office. Tickets are free for Juilliard students. Non-Juilliard students with valid ID may purchase tickets for $15 orchestra and 1st tier) and $7.50 (2nd and 3rd tiers), only at the Avery Fisher Hall Box Office.